Varney Makes Pitch to Knox Commissioner for Closing Lakeshore

From the News Sentinel’s Mike Donila:
Tennessee Department of Mental Health Commissioner Douglas Varney told county leaders Wednesday if the state closes Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, it would reinvest $20 million in the region and patients would not be dumped onto the streets.
In an hour-long meeting with the administration and the Knox County Commission, Varney detailed his proposal to close the Lyons View Pike Center. The idea, he said, would be to help more people with the money the state currently spends on the 2,200 who pass through Lakeshore’s doors. Under the plan, which would need the General Assembly’s approval, Lakeshore would close by the end of June.
Officials would give the facility’s 350 employees each a $3,200 severance package and two years support for college. Varney said he expects most doctors and nurses to find positions at area mental health providers, and the state would help others find jobs at local agencies and state-run facilities
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